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Ola El Sissy

© Government of Dubai, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing

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On the road towards sustainable tourism ======================================================================== On the road towards sustainable tourism What does sustainability mean to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and to tourism? The term first started circulating some 20 years ago and was defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations” by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development. In other words, the term sustainable development implies environmental consciousness. Today, this term has grown to encompass social and economic components, as well as its historical work on the environment. The UAE is placing considerable emphasis on encouraging investments in and development of green projects as

well as increasing tourism. The innovation for a sustainable future lies deep within the heritage of the UAE. The country's founders have long recognized the need to preserve its cultural heritage and abundant natural assets. Despite appearing relatively late on the international tourism scene, Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) is by no means behind the market. Abu Dhabi has transformed itself from a relatively unknown attraction into one of the top 10 tourist destinations in 2010. Abu Dhabi last year received 2,388,023 hotel guests in its 136 hotels and hotel apartments – a 13 per cent rise on its 2011 performance and achieving its set target of 2.3 million guests.

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GO GLOBAL UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

TCA Abu Dhabi has adopted a core priority of promoting the development of a sustainable tourism sector. As part of its 2030 plan they are working towards reducing their hotels’ energy usage by ten percent, water usage by 20 percent and landfill waste volume by 20 percent. In 2008, their Chairman H.H. Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan signed an official agreement to join the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) whose mission it is to promote sustainability management in Abu Dhabi by providing learning and knowledge sharing opportunities for the government and private companies. The World Green Tourism event (WGT) is the first commercial conference and

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